69926 - Comparative Constitutionalism

Course Unit Page

SDGs

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Gender equality Reduced inequalities Peace, justice and strong institutions

Academic Year 2019/2020

Learning outcomes

This course's aims are: A) to make students familiar with the basic aspects of contemporary constitutionalism in Western democracies, countries in transition to democracy and beyond, B) to show them that comparative constitutional law gives us a better purchase on our own legal systems and legal cultures; C) to push them to evaluate the foundations of individual legal system; D) to provide them with a critical understanding of the strengths and limits of constitutional law in regulating social and political processes. The course will tackle three main subjects: 1) The definition of constitutionalism, written and unwritten constitutions, models of constitutional adjudication and different approaches to interpretation; 2) The ways in which limitations on governmental powers have been pursued in different constitutional systems; 3) A comparative framework for discussion of fondamental rights such as free expression, privacy, dignity, autonomy, equality and liberty.

Course contents

Module I:

Why comparative constitutional law?

Defining and Elaborating the Constitution”, which treats fundamental subjects such as the definition of constitutionalism, written and unwritten constitutions, models of constitutional adjudication and different approaches to interpretation;

The Division of Governmental Powers, which explores the ways in which limitations on governmental powers have been pursued in different constitutional systems (presidential v parliamentary democracy, federalism and regionalism etc.)

Citizenship and Fundamental Rights, which provides a comparative framework for discussion of free expression, equality, liberty and freedom of religion, as well as minority rights.

Module II:

Constitutionalism and democratization in Africa and in the Arab countries.

Readings/Bibliography

Materials are available online

Teaching methods

Course requirements include regular class attendance, active participation in class discussion and two papers (First paper: approx 3500 words, second paper: approx 2000 words: BELOW YOU CAN FIND DETAILED INSTRUCTIONS CONCERNING YOUR PAPER). 

Students are expected to have read the assigned materials before each class as I will cold call. Class time will be divided between lectures and discussion. Each topic will be introduced by the instructor. It is a requirement that students attend at least 70% of class meetings during the semester. A student who does not meet this requirement will have to take an oral exam covering all materials in the syllabus in addition to completing the course papers.

Assessment methods

The final grade will be determined in the light of the papers (90%) and of participation in class and discussion (10%). Please note that ALL papers are checked for plagiarism and  all plagiarism cases will be reported  to the Dean. The deadline to deliver both papers is DECEMBER 10th. In case of late submissions, grades will be lowered by 2 points every 24 hours. To have the grade registered, students must then enroll for the "appello" of January or February. If a student does not enroll, the grade will not be registered.

WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU FAIL OR IF YOU ARE UNHAPPY WITH YUR GRADE?

NO STUDENT WILL BE ABLE TO SUBMIT A NEW PAPER OR A REVISED VERSION OF THE PREVIOUS PAPER. Students may by sign up for an oral exam (NOT BEFORE January of February) on a day on which it is officially scheduled by the Law School. Please note that no student will be able to schedule an exam or have a paper graded after their departure from Bologna.

WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU HAVE ATTAINED 70% CLASS ATTENDANCE BUT DO NOT SUBMIT YOUR PAPERS? 

YOU CAN SUBMIT YOUR PAPERS ONE WEEK BEFORE THE JANUARY OR FEBRUARY EXAMS BUT MUST ALSO TAKE AN ORAL EXAM ON ALL OF THE UPLOADED MATERIALS

IMPORTANT

Final Paper

The wordcount for the paper is 3500 for the first paper and 2000 for the second paper (papers will be accepted so long as they are no more 10% below or above that figure). Students will be able to choose among three topics (pertaining to Module I for the first paper and to Module II for the second paper), which will be made public early in October. Papers should contain different Sections, with titles, starting with an Introduction. Papers should not consist in a mere juxtaposition of cases and/or legislation, and should be analytical. You are welcome to provide your personal opinion on your topic, as long as it relies on a robust analysis and on a solid bibliography. Papers should not simply list different countries' legal frames (e.g. Euthanasia in Italy, France, the UK and Belgium, with a description of the different laws regulating euthanasia in each country), and should rather engage in a fruitful comparison (comparing the rationale of different laws and different judicial approaches).

You should rely mainly on books, law journal articles and cases (NEVER on Wikipedia). In order to conduct your research, you should go to the Law School library and in case you have difficulties, please schedule an appointment with a librarian who can teach you how to access databases. The long paper is expected to have a bibliography consisting as a minimum of 15 entries, the short paper of 10 entries.

Papers should be written in English (spelling must be consistent and can be American or British). Papers should be written in a clear, correct, idiomatic and comprehensible manner. 

Papers should include a bibliography at the end, listing all cited works and cases, and should include footnotes (not endnotes). Papers with no footnotes and/or no bibliography will be given a failing grade. Below you see how to quote your entries according to the Chicago Manual of Style. You should strictly follow these rules, unless you prefer to quote according to a different style (e.g. Oxford), which is fine as long as it is consistent. Grades will be determined also in the light of how accurately entries are quoted.

How to quote different entries:

IN THE FOOTNOTES :

BOOKS:

(up to two authors): Liam P. Unwin and Joseph Galloway, Peace in Ireland(Boston: Stronghope Press, 1990), 193.

(more than 3 authors): Charlotte Marcus et al., Investigation into the Phenomenon of Limited-Field Criticism (Boston: Broadview Press, 1990), 163-165.

(edited books): Anthony B. Tortelli, ed., Sociology Approaching the Twenty- first Century (Los Angles: Peter and Sons, 1991).

JOURNAL ARTICLES:

Cartright C. Bellworthy, “Reform of Congressional Remuneration,” Political Review 7 , no. 6 (1990): 93-94.

IN THE BIBLIOGRAPHY:

BOOKS:

(up to two authors): Unwin, Liam P., and Joseph Galloway. Peace in Ireland . Boston: Stronghope Press, 1990.

(more than 3 authors): Marcus, Charlotte, Jerome Waterman, Thomas Gomez, and Elizabeth DeLor. Investigations into the Phenomenon of Limited-Field Criticism . Boston: Broadview Press, 1990

(edited books): Tortelli, Anthony B., ed. Sociology Approaching the Twenty-fi rst Century . Los Angeles: Peter and Sons, 1991.

JOURNAL ARTICLES:

Bellworthy, Cartright C. “Reform of Congressional Remuneration.” Political Review 7 , no. 6 (1990): 87-101.

For further clarification please visit the Chicago Manual of Style online at<http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html>


Teaching tools

Materials will be available on the online platform

Office hours

See the website of Susanna Mancini

See the website of Francesco Biagi

See the website of Francesco Biagi